The system dictates we’re
stuck with this bickering

Have your say

The job of leader of Portsmouth City Council is not an easy one, let there be no doubt.

You need a thick skin, the cunning of an alley cat and the staying power of a marathon runner.

That’s on a good day.

Most of the time the position attracts brickbats galore and vitriol from opposition councillors, those in your own party and, of course, spleen-venting members of the public.

But there has never been a shortage of aspiring politicians to step into the thankless position.

That’s because they are politicians. It’s what they sign up for.

As we report on pages 8 and 9 today, the current incumbent, relatively inexperienced Councillor Donna Jones, a Tory, has been in the job for seven months. She was thrust into the limelight when her predecessor, the wily Liberal Democrat Gerald Vernon-Jackson, stepped down.

Cllr Jones, who leads a minority administration, managed to forge an unlikely coalition with Labour and UKIP members.

But she is sore that Cllr Vernon-Jackson’s Lib Dems would not join her in that political love-in – one which would have mirrored, to some extent, the one in Westminster.

She should not be sore nor surprised. Why? There’s a general election in May. There are city council elections the same day in which a third of the 42 seats are up for grabs. A lot’s at stake.

The Lib Dem group leader refused to join the coalition because he believed he could score more political points in the run-up to those polls and, in his eyes, more votes, by remaining in opposition and being a constant thorn in Cllr Jones’s side.

The public bickering between the two has been likened to a Punch and Judy show. It’s what you get when local government reflects the national political set-up. Nobody should be surprised.

Until the day party politics are shunted out of town halls and all those elected are true Independents, the name-calling will continue.

That day will never come and we have no choice but to accept it. Grudgingly.